Everyday math and building blocks for preschool children – the easiest teaching tool?
All of my kids enjoy playing with building blocks. Why wouldn’t they? Blocks are easy to maneuver and building possibilities are endless. Blocks are colorful, with a variety of shapes and textures.
Building with them requires a slight plan once kids move past the stage of stacking. Baby C.J. does that now. She stacks and knocks them down. We are starting to mention colors and shapes with her. It’s fun to watch her explore and handle the blocks (chewing), part of the mathematical-logical intelligence.
Math and building blocks are a natural connection for preschool students though. Just working with my kids, we use blocks…
1. To count. We decide the building/barn/house will be, and count out a number for the foundation. We normally use the color that has the most blocks.
2. To organize and pattern. We sort out all the colors or all the sizes. We then make a pattern or layer the colors.
3. To follow directions. Some blocks (normally for older children) have intense and specific directions. I think that there is validity to the argument that this takes away from creativity. I provide my children with about 90% of free time with building blocks, but we do complete the direction sets together.
These directions are a different form of reading, but an important form! For this 10% of our time that we focus on math and building blocks, we must complete the directions in order and organize our pieces. The process can be long, but we finish it together and have a finished project.
The directions are not always simple, and completing these buildings can be frustrating. That is the hardest part for me – modeling proper behavior during a confusing time. I know that kids imitate, and I try to tell mine that I am need a break or that I need to reread the directions.
This is what I love about preschool math and building blocks. A million lessons from a simple and pretty inexpensive toy.
These are the activities that I’ve thought of, and I would love new ideas in the comments. How do you use math and building blocks together?